Commonwealth leaders agree to $10 billion climate funding for vulnerable countries
Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), 1 December 2009 - Commonwealth leaders representing a third of the world's population have stressed their "conviction that urgent and substantial action to reduce global emissions is needed" after a meeting in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago.
The 49 countries at the summit - including 34 represented by their heads of state or government - approved 'fast track funding' focused on the most vulnerable countries in a meeting that was dominated by climate change just a week before the key UN climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Copenhagen Launch Fund would start in 2010 and build up to US$10 billion per year by 2012, including 10 per cent dedicated to small island states. The fund would support climate adaptation, clean technology and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
"Science, and our own experience, tells us that we only have a few short years to address the threat [of climate change]," the Commonwealth leaders' declaration reads. "The average global temperature has risen because of the increase in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. We must act now."
"We pledge our continued support to the leaders-driven process guided by the Danish Prime Minister and his efforts to deliver a comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen leading towards a full legally binding outcome no later than 2010," it adds.
The Copenhagen meeting on 7-18 December, which will be attended by 80 world leaders, will see governments from around the world look at possible greenhouse gas emission limits after the Kyoto Protocol runs out at the end of 2012.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told leaders at the meeting that "we face a simple reality - if we delay for perfection, we risk ending up with nothing - no agreement at all".
He added that momentum for a deal in Copenhagen is strong and continues to grow: "The world has never before witnessed this level of political engagement on climate," he emphasized. "We will not get a better chance any time soon."
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown added: "If a third of the world can agree at the Commonwealth conference, then perhaps the whole of the world can agree at Copenhagen."
The Commonwealth People's Festival, the civil society event held as part of the summit, also saw strong support for the Seal the Deal! campaign, with 600 people signing the Climate Petition during the event. The UN-led initiative is mobilizing communities around the world to encourage governments to seal the deal on a fair, balanced and effective climate agreement when they meet in Copenhagen.
Philena Williams, who set up a Seal the Deal! 'stamping station' at the four-day event, said: "To my great delight, I discovered through networking, that the are other organizations in Trinidad & Tobago doing the Seal the Deal! campaign."
Among the groups from Trinidad and Tobago promoting support the campaign, including gathering signatures for the Climate Petition, were the Toco Foundation, JCI, and Global Compact member Trinidad Cement Limited.